During November 2002 the Pennsylvania Game Commission changed the law on what is legal to hunt small game with. Removed as legal weapons are all center fire single projectile firearms, muzzleloaders over .40 and rim fires over .22. Unfortunately, they kept this law change quiet.
Although they printed the new regs with the 2003 license information, most hunters missed the changes. I checked the Game Commission Web site (http://www.pgc.state.pa.us
) just after I received my new license to see who to complain to about the change and found conflicting information on the law change. The cat got out of the bag when the official Pa Game Commission Publication, The Pennsylvania Game News, printed an article on a new center fire squirrel cartridge in the Oct ’03 edition and then printed a retraction and an explanation of the law change in the Nov 03 edition. Groundhogs are exempt from the change (http://www.pacode.com/secure/data/05...bchapBtoc.html
I have used center fires for small game all my life. I cast and I reload. I have great small game loads for everything I own. I give small game loads to family and friends so that they can get used to their deer rifle in the woods. I enjoy using an 1858 Remington reproduction cap and ball .44 for squirrel and got my first black squirrel with an 8” .357.
In Pennsylvania it is now illegal for me to use my grandfathers .25/20 for small game; a link to my past has been removed; while legal, I will not use it for deer. Your Hornets and Bee’s are illegal for small game.
I have always wanted a drilling. I don’t have one yet but settled for a 12 ga x 30-06 combination gun this summer. I developed a light cast bullet load that prints touchers at 50 yards at velocities slower than a .22 magnum rim fire and quieter than the new .17. I carried this gun this year because of my interpretation of what I read on the Game Commission’s web site. The Nov 03 Game News law explanation and a recheck of the Game Commission web site now tells me that unless rewritten, this law makes it illegal for me to enjoy hunting as I have for the past 40+ years.
I have heard of no safety issues related to this law change. Pennsylvania has been a hunter education state since the early 60’s. A few people have been hurt by center fire ground hog hunters, but I have never heard of a person being hurt by one of the just prohibited weapons in the hands of a hunter pursuing other small game.
Please help me get this law rewritten. There is a Game Commission meeting starting January 25th. If you are a Pennsylvanian, or want to hunt in PA, with center fire small game hunting experience Please send a letter or an email to:
Vernon R. Ross, Executive Director, Pennsylvania Game Commission, 2001 Elmerton Avenue, Harrisburg Pa, 17110-9797; [email protected]
Jim Brett, Director, Sportsmen’s Advisory Council, PO Box 8767, Harrisburg PA, 17105-8767; [email protected]
Mickey J. Rowley, Deputy Secretary for Tourism, Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, 4th Floor Commonwealth Keystone Building, Harrisburg Pa, 17120; [email protected]
Bruce Smith, Chairman Game and Fisheries Committee, Pa House of Representatives, 41-A Capital Building EW, Harrisburg PA, 17120; 717-783-8783
Robert Godshall, Chairman Tourism and Recreational Development, Pa House of Representatives, 150 Capital Building, Harrisburg PA, 17120; 717-783-6428
Edward W. Helfrick, Chairman Game and Fisheries Committee, Pennsylvania Senate, 173 Capital Building, Harrisburg PA, 17120
Pennsylvania Game Commissioners are:
Samuel J. Dunkle (Duncansville), Russell E. Schleiden (Centre Hall), Roxane S. Palone (Waynesburg), Stephen L. Mohr (Bainbridge), John J. Riley (Scotrun), and Robert J. Gilford (Lickingville). They can be reached at the Pa. Game Commission, 2001 Elmerton Avenue, Harrisburg Pa, 17110-9797.